Concern about future of Bo’ness buildings

Bo’ness Community Council is angry that a vital Falkirk Council review will be discussed at a virtual meeting that no-one from the town will attend.

By Kirsty Paterson
Thursday, 17th September 2020, 7:30 am

Falkirk Council’s strategic property review contains proposals for the council to get rid of many of its buildings – either through closure or by transferring ownership – in a bid to concentrate on fewer, more flexible properties.

But the community council fears that the proposals will have a worse impact on Bo’ness than other areas and it has made its feelings known to members of Falkirk Council’s executive committee.

Community council chairwoman Madelene Hunt said: “I have been told I cannot even listen in “live” to the discussions so they are effectively holding this meeting behind closed doors.”

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Madelene Hunt, Bo'ness Community Council chairperson

The coronavirus pandemic means all council meetings are conducted online.

Members of the public aren’t allowed to take part or observe although press can attend and meetings are recorded and put online.

Previously the community council had complained that no-one on the executive has represented Bo’ness since Lynn Munro was replaced by James Kerr as leader of the Conservative group.

Mrs Hunt this week again wrote to councillors asking them to make sure answers are provided to the town.

In particular, she wants more information about what “options for future leisure and sport provision in Bo’ness” means.

She said: “We have so many questions that we need answers to.

“Will the Bo’ness Recreation Centre continue? Will it be upgraded or replaced or will the centre’s functions be shoehorned into Bo’ness Academy? Users want to know.”

The report going before councillors says that officers will “identify” options for community buildings such as Bo’ness Town Hall, Cowdenhill Community Centre and Kinneil Museum using CAT – “community asset transfer” – or partnerships or leases.

“Effectively we’re being asked to run our own facilities and continue to pay Council Tax,” said Mrs Hunt.

Members of the community council say they are worried that extensive house building is planned for the Bo’ness area but, despite the increase in population, the facilities won’t increase.

And they feel aggrieved that more money has been earmarked for the Mariner Centre while Bo’ness Recreation Centre has been neglected.

“It’s never had any proper money spent on it,” said Mrs Hunt.

“They’re talking about using the school but the school swimming pool isn’t a full-length pool and it’s not deep either.”

Falkirk Council was contacted for a response but no-one was available to comment.